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Kex Gill: Businesses issue warning as A59 closure hits trade

Businesses are concerned that the roadworks at Kex Gill are causing them to lose vital funds from passing trade.
Businesses are concerned that the roadworks at Kex Gill are causing them to lose vital funds from passing trade.

The ongoing closure of the A59 at Kex Gill has caused nearby businesses to warn they could struggle to remain open due to the impact on trade.

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North Yorkshire County Council closed the stretch of road following reports of movement on the road, which left a crack in the road, last Wednesday (May 30). An investigation into the cause of this is being carried out but no date could be provided by NYCC as to when the road could be re-opened.

Traffic is currently being redirected along the A65, A660, A658 and A61 via Ilkley and Otley. According to the county council signs advertising that businesses remain open as usual were all in place last Saturday.

However businesses near the A59 say not enough has been done to advertise that b-roads have not been closed and that they are open. Among them is Lee Abbott, owner of Fewston Farm Shop and Cafe on Cobby Syke Road.

He said: “Today I have had three customers come through the door. If it keeps on like this we won’t be able to keep on going. It took 66 day the last time the road was closed and I want people to know we are still here and we need to be kept updated with what is going on by NYCC.

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“There is no trade coming in from Skipton now, and people are not coming on the B-roads with the signs that are up at the moment.” He added: “People read that the road is closed for 10 miles ahead at the roundabout near the Old Spring Well, but more needs to be done to advertise that businesses are open.

Glyn Garbutt of the Queens Head Inn said: “The situations is horrendous, we normally have people coming from Skipton direction this time of year, but they aren’t coming through. We need this trade to see us through the winter.”

He added: “It isn’t just us, businesses up the A59 are suffering."

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A number of owners, including Lee Abbott, owner of Fewston Farm Shop and cafe, came together on Tuesday night to again put up home made signs advertising they are open. They have been kept in storage since 2016, when the road was closed due to a landslip, which still fresh in their memories.

Mr Abbott said: “If it keeps on like this we won’t be able to keep on going. It took 66 day the last time the road was closed and I want people to know we are still here and we want to be kept updated with whats going on.

“There was a sign on the A59 at the roundabout near the Wishing Well saying the road was closed for 10 miles ahead. I had to call them to ask for signs saying that businesses were open as usual, which are now up.

"We need more organisation and information out there for us and customers. We have been here for five years, and it is only when the road has been closed where we have had problems. Last time wasn’t so bad with it being in the winter, but this is the prime time for the tourist trade. If you can’t make it during the summer you have a problem.”

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County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said that while business may miss out with the diversion local access was still in place.

He said: “There is no reason businesses should miss out on local trade, as we are maintaining local access. We concede that businesses may lose out on passing trade since vehicles are being diverted several miles away, and we welcome the Harrogate Advertiser’s help in spreading the message that businesses along the A59 are still open.”

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said that while signs are in place he understood that trade could be lost with the diversions being in place.

He said: “There is no reason businesses should miss out on local trade, as we are maintaining local access. We concede that businesses may lose out on passing trade since vehicles are being diverted several miles away, and we welcome the Harrogate Advertiser’s help in spreading the message that businesses along the A59 are still open.”